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West Reading community takes stand against thieves who stole playground toys

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 25 2013 04:22:16 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 25 2013 05:49:22 PM CDT

Tips poured into police Tuesday after a pack of thieves stole toys from a children's summer camp in Berks County.

WEST READING, Pa. -

Tips poured into police Tuesday after a pack of thieves stole toys from a children's summer camp in Berks County.

69 News first aired the shocking crime that was captured on camera Monday. One day later, the West Reading community took a stand against the criminals and rallied behind their kids.

The children put on brave faces while they played outside at the West Reading Playground. They drew with chalk and played hool-a-hoop with some of the only toys they have left. 

"Me and my friends were sad that they would take our stuff," said Joseph Anzulewicz, who attends the borough's summer playground program.

Antonia Lisa, the playground manager, spent Tuesday looking through empty lockers and compiled a list of exactly what was stolen. Unfortunately, she said it was more than the $1,000 worth they originally thought.

On Monday, West Reading police released surveillance video of adults caught on camera, who used children to help steal bags upon bags of toys that belonged to the summer playground program.

Parents of the more than 70 kids who attend the camp called the crime repulsive. On Tuesday, the community came together to help the children have a safe and fun summer.

"The leaders have created different projects and activities for them to do, how are they supposed to do that without supplies and equipment?" asked Susan Heck, whose three nephews go to the camp.

Heck and some children's parents turned to Facebook to help collect playground toys and donations to get the camp back on its feet.

"We are so grateful that they are doing this, I mean it's going to take awhile to replace everything," said Lisa.

The toys were brand new, and the crooks took nearly four hours cleaning the place out Friday night, said Lisa.  

"We want them to be caught. We want our stuff back," she said.

Police believe the thieves are from the area. They looked through the surveillance video again Tuesday frame by frame, and hoped to identify the people very soon, said West Reading Detective Joe Brown.

If you have any information call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.